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Remember the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative? Because these ostensibly charitable endeavors set up by the former President and the former First Lady, Secretary of State, and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate turned out to be such blatantly income-padding and pay-to-play schemes, contributions have dried up dramatically under the glare of public scrutiny and since Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss, and her White House run was clearly undermined by the evidence of access selling.  (Here’s a good account of its offenses and its demise. And according to this report, the latest figures show that the Foundation has negative cash flow.)

Although practically unreported by the Mainstream Media, apparent President-elect Joe Biden has his own group of foundations, and the refusal of one in particular to disclose information about its budget and donors raises major questions about Biden’s own possible grifting – especially with regard to China. It’s the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

The Center describes its mission as engaging University of Pennsylvania “students and partners with its faculty and global centers to convene world leaders, develop and advance smart policy, and strengthen the national debate for continued American global leadership in the 21st century.” Although affiliated with the University, the Center is run out of a Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Given its lofty goals, you’d think that the Center would be eager to showcase the funders helping to achieve them – and that the funders would be just as eager for the good publicity. But not only is no information publicly available either about the Center’s budget or its donors. The Center has stonewalled requests for the names and numbers. And so has the University, to which it’s referred reporters.

What is publicly known, though, is a big problem, because a private watchdog organization called the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has discovered, by combing through U.S. Department of Education Records, that the University as a whole began receiving many more donations from Chinese sources once the Biden Center’s establishment was announced in 2017.  Indeed, these contributions increased greatly once the Center opened its doors in Washington in February, 2018 and continued after Biden announced his presidential bid on April 25, 2019. Moreover, in clear violation of federal law, more than 40 percent of the $54.05 million in 2018 and 2019 Chinese contributions came from anonymous sources.

Now as surely known by many RealityChek regulars who follow U.S. politics closely, the NLPC is a decidedly conservative group that’s no friend of Biden or any Democrats or liberals. At the same time, if you doubt these numbers, you can verify them for yourself (as I did) by examining the data base on Foreign Gifts and Contracts to U.S. higher education institutions maintained by the Education Department. (The link to database can be found at this Department website.)

Throughout the presidential campaign, Biden and his aides brushed off questions about his son Hunter’s business dealings with Chinese individuals and entities (all of which are controlled in various ways by the Chinese government) clearly based on his strategy of cashing in on the Biden name. Moreover, many of these relationships date from Biden senior’s years as Vice President, when he helped formulate an Obama administration China policy rightly described as squishy. And the Trump era deals took place during a period when a Biden 2020 presidential run was always a distinct possibility. 

In addition, the entire Biden family’s finances are known to have been shaky until his Vice Presidency ended, and that Hunter has been identified as the main Biden family breadwinner during the lean years. 

It’s bad enough that so many gaps in this record remain. Even less excusable is the unexamined (except by the NLPC) evidence of large anonymous (as well as identified) Chinese contributions linked at least chronologically to a Biden organization.  Both the Biden Center and the University could answer the crucial question – how much of the Penn China money found its way to the Biden Center –  instantly by opening up their books. Why won’t they?